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Pension changes

Australian Age Pension

The following changes take effect from January 2017. There are also proposed changes from the federal budget that have not been legislated yet, you can see the proposals here.

Pension assets test changes 2017

The assets test is used to work out two things:

a) Your eligibility for the Government Age Pension, and

b) If you are eligible, how much Age Pension you can receive each fortnight.

Only those people who have assets with a total value less than a certain threshold, are able to receive the full pension.

If the total value of your assets is above the threshold, then the amount of Age Pension you’ll be entitled to will decrease.

From January 2017, the assets threshold will increase. The new assets threshold is in addition to the value of your home.

 HomeownerNot a homeowner
Single $250,000 $450,000
Couple $375,000 $575,000

If the value of your assets is less than the threshold for your particular circumstances, you may receive the full Age Pension (depending on your income).

If you are eligible to receive the Age Pension and the total value of your assets is above the threshold, then the amount of Age Pension you receive will decrease faster than it currently does.

From 1 January 2017, the pension taper rate increases from $1.50 to $3 – this means for every $1000 of assets beyond the assets free area ($250,000 for a single homeowner and $375,000 for a home-owning couple) the pension is reduced by $3 per fortnight, or $78 per year.

The upper limit of the Age Pension assets test drops to $542,500 (from $793,750) for singles, and $816,000 (from $1,178,500) for couples.

Examples of assessable assets include household contents, personal effects, cars, boats, caravans, investments and real estate. The family home is excluded from the Age Pension assets test. 

It’s estimated that just over 300,000 retirees will lose some, or all, of their Pension entitlements.

What can you do to retain your pension?

Not everything you own is actually counted towards your assets for the purposes of the test – for example, your family home is not included in your total assets. See the info box below, for more details.

Since everyone’s financial position and asset portfolio is different, it is important to get professional advice from a financial planner with expertise in retirement income.

If you’re a member of an Industry SuperFund, then you can call your fund and ask to speak to one of their specialist financial advisors.

What can you do if you are worried about these changes?

If you are concerned about the effect that these changes may have on you, you can email your local MP and let them know of your concerns here www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members 

Call:1300 789 932 Call:1300 789 932

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